Over the weekend, a series of journalists – and I use the term loosely of course – have written, and not for the first time in recent months, about a scenario in which Celtic fans swiftly turn on Brendan Rodgers. I cannot ever remember the media writing about something like this with such regularity. I sort of understand what they are thinking.
I just cannot see how they could possibly believe it will happen.
They are thinking of how we turned on Rodgers last time, after he left. But they refuse to put that decision in its full context; even then, we never held Rodgers solely accountable for that act. Even those of us who weren’t aware of the toxicity behind the scenes – unfortunately I was well aware of it and it haunted that whole first half of the campaign – knew that Rodgers was not happy with the hand he had been dealt that summer. He had made it plain.
The anger was centred mostly around the timing. He left us mid-season, with everything up in the air. He gutted the backroom team, taking half of them with him.
But then, he’d built it in the first place and probably felt fully entitled. It wasn’t that we lost them all for free; we got a pile of money from losing Rodgers and all his cohort.
People like Gary Keown and Keevins – no friends of Celtic, either of them – can call us hypocrites as they like, and people with short memories.
It’s not true. It’s just that we’re capable of cold blooded and rational analysis, more capable of it than they believe us to be. I don’t like the manner in which Ange Postecoglou left, and I think he lied to us … but nobody is raising the roof about it, and that’s because he finished the job before he went.
I find the media’s focus on this tiresome. It is a truism of politics that during elections people are treated like fools by leaders who think we can’t handle hard truths and want to hear that the sunny uplands are just around the corner … football fans are treated equally badly, only there’s no need to wait for election time before it happens. It’s a year round thing.
Celtic fans are as prone to over-reaction as the supporters of any club, and we are not uniformly smart and capable of reading between the lines, nor of recognising the lie of the land, but when someone makes us a clear promise we are entitled to expect it to be kept and as I said when Ange left, the gloating tone of the media was made worse by the suggestion that we had deserved all we got because we put too much stock in the man’s words.
I don’t think that’s a crime, any more than acting in an adult fashion because Brendan Rodgers is back in the dugout is a crime. At the end of the day, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about coming back to Celtic or managing Celtic “one day”; David Moyes is a classic example, he talks endlessly about it this way as if he’d be doing us a favour to even consider it.
Brendan Rodgers did not need to be asked twice.
He came back without anyone twisting his arm, and he didn’t bother to offer us some phoney baloney apology either. He’s not sorry for going, only that people felt let down and betrayed and I can accept that and move on, and most of us can and that is not hypocritical or stupid, it is the adult and perfectly rational response.
The media hates to see football fans behaving in that sort of reasoned manner, and especially Celtic fans. This is why when they talk about us “turning” it is more in hope than expectation, although I genuinely think Keevins is daft enough to believe it too.
Of course, if Brendan Rodgers does not succeed he won’t last long in the job. That’s got nothing to do with fans turning on him. It’s to do with the simple fact that this job comes with a minimum level of expectation, and he has to meet that just like everyone else.
I am more than confident that the issue will never arise, because he is the very best we could have got and that’s reason enough for most of us to have welcomed him home … and it’s the real reason so many in the media are foaming at the mouth over it.